By Luke Kenton
A group of Spanish filmmakers documented first-hand the terrifying reality of being caught in the path of an avalanche – after a sudden cascade of snow hurtled towards them during a Pakistani hike.
By the time Paco Roses, 52, and his documentary crew realised an avalanche was breaking before them in the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan, it was already too late.
A thick and ferocious stream of snow and rock can be seen cascading down the mountainside directly towards them, and in seconds they’re consumed in a deadly mist of white.
Attempting the shield themselves from the slide’s force by seeking shelter behind some rocks, Paco and his crew are lacerated by ice and rock for more than a minute, as Paco and his colleague Marta, 31, call out to the three other crew members without a response.
Stranded at 4600 metres, once the avalanche subsides, Paco and Martha spot the outlines of their missing comrades who signal they too have thankfully managed to escape the ordeal unscathed.
Saved only be the slight incline of land they found themselves on, Paco insights had they have been standing at the bottom of the Chapursan Valley, the crew would’ve been unlikely to make it out alive.
Becoming only the third group to traverse this restricted stretch of mountain range, the dramatic footage comes as part of an upcoming documentary titled ‘1000 Cups of Tea’.
Paco, a nature photographer who has been mountaineering for over 30 years, said: “Our original purpose was to cross a different valley through a complicated pass, but the weather was so bad we had to turn back.
“Going back down, this is where the avalanche surprised us.
“Suddenly we heard a loud and powerful noise from the other side of the glacier.
“Initially we didn’t worry because the avalanche was quite far away, but in a few seconds, I was certain the flow would reach us.
“My main concern was to focus on my breathing, because the air was full of snow and ice.
“We had just enough time to protect ourselves behind the rocks.
“The force of the wind was so strong that, had we not sheltered, it could have dragged us into some deep hole or launched us against the rocks.
“The avalanche felt endless but thankfully nobody suffered any damage.
“I think we were very lucky – if we had been at the base of the valley, the avalanche would’ve dragged us towards one of the thousands of crevasses in the glacier, and I don’t think we’d have survived.”
Marta, also a nature photographer and mountain guide, added: “I feel very lucky and happy to have had that experience and just return completely unharmed.
“It’s probably been one of the most shocking experiences of our lives.”